Customer Reviews for

Sybil

Average Rating 4.5
( 71 )
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(46)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Well Written and Astounding

Although there is a lot of controversy behind the Sybil story regarding whether Sybil was exploited for Dr. Wilbur's personal gain I have to say I can not see how this is possible. From the time of therapy to the time of book release was 19 years not a grand master plan...
Although there is a lot of controversy behind the Sybil story regarding whether Sybil was exploited for Dr. Wilbur's personal gain I have to say I can not see how this is possible. From the time of therapy to the time of book release was 19 years not a grand master plan if you're trying to exploit someone. No I believe Sybil's story was real and that she was a truly remarkable and unique individual. The writing style of the author captured me instantly there wasn't too much of anything whether it is personal or textbook psychiatric information. It had the write balance and kept me intrigued from beginning to end. It also posed a lot of questions which I am sure have been asked in the past what causes people with two similar backgrounds to mentally handle things completely different why do some disassociate and others not. I can tell you this I had been waiting a very long time to read this book and I was not disappointed in fact it made me intensely aware that this disease can be so extreme. I can't imagine what this woman went through as the one woman who is supposed to love you unconditionally destroys your whole being. Great book excellently written I would definitely recommend.

posted by snowbird922 on December 21, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Review

Sybil is both interesting in subject matter and characterizations. The reader follows Sybil throughout her childhood and becomes witness to many of her abuses. The book puts vivid imagery into the readers heads of a horrible mother torturing her only daughter. The re...
Sybil is both interesting in subject matter and characterizations. The reader follows Sybil throughout her childhood and becomes witness to many of her abuses. The book puts vivid imagery into the readers heads of a horrible mother torturing her only daughter. The reader goes through feelings of anger and disgust towards the mother. Then switches to anger and disgust at the ignorance of her father. How could her parents treat their child like that? The book also aids the reader in understanding how Sybil broke into so many identities and how these separate identities had their own specific roles in her survival. Examples are like Peggy whom took over if Sybil became angry or frustrated. Or if Sid and Mike would appear to fix things. The reader can appreciate the long road that she had to go through to piece herself back together. How she could go from dropping out of school or not holding a job to being whole again.

posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2008

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  • Posted December 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Well Written and Astounding

    Although there is a lot of controversy behind the Sybil story regarding whether Sybil was exploited for Dr. Wilbur's personal gain I have to say I can not see how this is possible. From the time of therapy to the time of book release was 19 years not a grand master plan if you're trying to exploit someone. No I believe Sybil's story was real and that she was a truly remarkable and unique individual. The writing style of the author captured me instantly there wasn't too much of anything whether it is personal or textbook psychiatric information. It had the write balance and kept me intrigued from beginning to end. It also posed a lot of questions which I am sure have been asked in the past what causes people with two similar backgrounds to mentally handle things completely different why do some disassociate and others not. I can tell you this I had been waiting a very long time to read this book and I was not disappointed in fact it made me intensely aware that this disease can be so extreme. I can't imagine what this woman went through as the one woman who is supposed to love you unconditionally destroys your whole being. Great book excellently written I would definitely recommend.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2000

    Sybil, The Best

    I am only 11 years old and have read the book and loved it. It was the best book. It has twists and turns and so much more. Yes, it was harsh, but I can understand it all. I dont really recomend it to all younger kids due to the abuse and content. You should really read it, but belive me, you cant stop.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good insight to multiple personalities

    I was pleased that the book was not as graphic as I'd heard. After reading it though, I understand how this poor child was able to cope. A really good book, totally worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2011

    MUST READ!

    I chose to read Sybil because I heard that it was a fascinating book about a woman who had acquired multiple personality disorder due to a childhood filled with horrific abuse. Although I am a high school student, the story really appealed to me. Even though it was written almost 40 years ago, this book was really good and was hard to put down! The story was very intriguing and, in many parts, disturbing. This book had me thinking constantly. I often tried to imagine what it would be like, as a little girl, to have to endure the things that Sybil went through. I also found myself wondering if my own brain would splinter into numerous personalities to cope with the pain and misery Sybil suffered. It shows that we really have no idea what those around us might be going through, or have gone through, in their lives. While reading this I had so much sorrow for Sybil and so much frustration and hatred toward her parents - toward her mother for committing the abuse, and toward her father for allowing it to happen by ignoring the glaring warning signs. The things that this little girl had to go through were horrible and sometimes were almost unbearable to read. One difficulty I had with the book was that there was a lot of technical terminology and psychiatric jargon in it, which made it hard to understand sometimes. Another problem I had with the book was that it was written from a 3rd person perspective, which I wasn't crazy about. I would have preferred that the book be written either from Sybil's perspective or from the perspective of Dr. Wilbur, her psychiatrist. The story was very interesting, even from a 3rd person perspective, but a 1st person perspective might have made it feel more personal and given more insight into the thoughts and emotions of Sybil and/or her doctor. Despite these drawbacks, I really enjoyed Sybil, and I think that all high school students should read it. I think that no one would even think about abusing their child if they read it. Sybil shows some of the horrible long term effects of abuse. This story teaches us that we shouldn't judge people, because we really don't know what's going on inside of their head. There are some mental disabilities and disorders in the world and I think that we need to be aware of them. It is also fascinating to see how complex the mind is, and the mechanisms it can use to protect itself from experiences that are too horrible to endure.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    FASCINATING

    The story of Sybil Dorset is sad yet very intriguing. At times I found myself close to tears as I read what she had to suffer through. It was really neat getting an inside look at the personalities and how they went about day-to-day life. This book is what sparked my interest for Dissociative Identity Disorder and encouraged me to my dream even more to become a psychologist. I highly recommend this book to anyone who aspires to be a psychologist or just wants a read that will completely engross you. The movie is pretty good too, starring Sally Field. So if you like the book definitely check out the movie!

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  • Posted September 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    THE STORY!

    I HAVE TO BE HONEST THIS IS REALLY NOT TE KIND OF BOOK I READ AND I COULD NOT FINISH READING IT, NOT ENOUGH ... I DONT KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN IT (SLOW READ I GUESS) I WENT AND WATCHED THE MOVIE INSTEAD WITH THIS KIND OF STORY YOU WILL NEED VISUAL BUT WOW GREAT STORY SO HARD TO BELIEVE IT CAN REALLY HAPPEN

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    Sybil Book Review

    The book Sybil, written by Flora Rheta Schreiber in 1973, portrayed a horrific story of one woman¿s journey through life fighting what seemed to be the impossible. Sybil Isabel Dorsett was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder at the early age of 22. By the age of 22 Sybil, without being aware, was housing at least 8 other personalities. A total of 16 personalities would be identified throughout her life. When Sybil was diagnosed by Dr. Cornelia B. Wilbur there were only 10 other medically recorded cases with multiple personality, seven women and three men. Each personality saw themselves as a separate individual from Sybil, but trapped in her body. Sybil¿s mother, Hattie was abusive toward her daughter during her early life. These abuses are believed to be the cause of her dissociation. Each personality was known to have its own appearance, strength and weaknesses, abilities, and emotions. The differences in appearance ranged from blonde hair, dark and light brunette, ash-blonde, and red hair with olive skin to fair skin. The eyes that matched these diverse appearances were blue, brown, grey, and hazel. Surprisingly, their attitudes differed too they ranged from assertive and self-assured, to very timid and immature. Every personality was described in exquisite detail. The first half of Sybil described how she was raised as a child, which also explained how she dissociated into multiple selves. Sybil was not raised like any normal child. Willard, her father, kept himself at arms-length with Sybil while growing up so they did not have a close father-daughter relationship. Hattie, Sybil¿s mother was thought to be in a catatonic phase, for a brief time, and was diagnosed as schizophrenic. It was also discovered through many psychoanalytic sessions that Sybil¿s psychological problems were linked genetically on both sides of her family. Unlike the second half of Sybil, the first half clearly explained Sybil¿s background along with each self¿s theory of their life. The second half of Sybil explains the day by day journey through integration back to the ¿waking Sybil.¿ As Sybil was becoming one person, she faced many challenges like suicidal thoughts or attempts and Mary¿s extreme depression. Some of those challenges were troubles the other personalities faced, which affected the others as well. Most of the others did not agree with Dr. Wilbur as she tried to get them to integrate themselves. Two of the personalities, Sid and Mike wanted to become separate individuals and wanted no part in Sybil¿s healing. After all of the `blackouts¿ she faced everyday, Sybil eventually had to drop out of school. When all the personalities finally integrated, Sybil was able to finish school and become a successful teacher with the help of her friends. Throughout Sybil, Schreiber did an nice job describing and explaining all the medical terms. If the terms she used were not clearly defined, somewhere later in the book she would give an example of the meaning. Various methods of treatment were used to help integrate Sybil¿s multiple personalities. Hypnosis turned out to be the most successful method of treatment that helped make her shattered personality whole once again. Anyone who is interested in the study of multiple personality disorders should read this true story of how dissociation occurred and her struggle of integration back to one personality. Sybil is a very recommendable novel to anyone interested in multiple personality disorders. The book describes in very graphic detail what some may find disturbing however it is a very interesting topic to read and learn more about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2008

    A reviewer

    The emotions of a traumatized childhood were vividly captured and described in this book. There was a good balance in the telling of Sybil¿s story and the technical process of psychoanalysis. It is a unique and fascinating read. Anyone interested in human behaviors, workings of the human mind, and the treatment of psychoanalysis would find this book enjoyable. It brings questions to mind about how a second personality can be known or even discovered if it can¿t act independently on it¿s own, the way Sybil¿s do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2007

    It blew me away!

    My mum suggested this book to me a few years back, when I was 14. And I'm glad she did. During the first few pages, you get a glimpse of the troubles Sybil had to go through with MPD. This is really a page turner. Even teenagers would love this! After reading the book, I was greatly inspired.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2007

    avid reader of books concerning MPD

    I really wanted to understand more about what people with MPD went through. Reading this answered a ton of my questions concerning it. I highly suggest reading this book, it makes you appreciate your life sooo much more knowing that you have it so much easier than she had it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2006

    A very interesting case

    An incredible story. Probably the most interesting case of MPD i've read. It really makes you take a look at your life and appreciate what you have. I recommend this book to anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2005

    A Tale Of A Tourtured And Amazing Woman

    I had heard of multiple personalities before I read this book. While reading it, I was simply blown away. Sixteen diferent selves in a single body of a young woman. It is amazing and horrifying to see just how powerful the mind can be. This is a book for any and all who like psychological stories with a unique twist.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2005

    Riveting

    Whether or not you believe in multiple personalities, you will find this book is a very interesting read. Some of you will find it enlightening, some of you sad, and some of you horrific. It is a tragedy with what seems like a happy ending. Some chapters I cried and others just amazed me. All I can say is what a riveting story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2005

    This book is Amazing!

    Sybil will take you along the incredible journey of a young womans life. Her story will bring you to tears, make you laugh, horrify you, and amaze you. I guarantee you'll find it hard to put the book down. Until I read this book I had no idea of the extent of the humans minds capabilities. Life is crazy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2004

    Wow!!!!

    This book caught me by surpise and I finished it in one sitting. I can't believed this all happened to one girl. Its really sad, i almost cried. This book is a must read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2004

    one of the best books

    well i dnot kno how to describe this book with any word but absolulty amazing. i love to read and have recently become interested in possibly looking into taking classes in pshycology and this book has only extremly hightened my interest. read it and u will not regret it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2004

    Teachers Inspiration

    WOW this book was introduced to me by my 7th grade science teacher (the best teacher ever)she told me that it was a very indept book and was she ever right this book is not a bad book just not a book that all people should read unless there mentaly ready

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2003

    GREAT

    i was required to read this book for my high school psychology class... i was amazed that things like that could happen to someone... especially when she was just a baby... i would recommend this book to anyone... it was complicating but yet absolutley a great look into the truth about dissociate identity disorder...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2003

    awesome

    I loved this book i felt it showed the life of a girl in the real truthful way and the hard ship she goes threw are so vivid it blows my mind

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2003

    Parenting at its worse

    What some mothers do to their children seems so unreal but this is a true story. What Sybil's mother put her through no child or anyone should ever have to endure. This book and many more like it are a great wake-up call to the abuse some children are still suffering today. Highly Recommended.

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